Team Bartowski | Buy More | The CIA and Other Spies | FULCRUM | The Ring | Volkoff Industries | Everyone Else
Beware of unmarked spoilers.
A powerful Russian corporation that is a guise for a vast criminal network specializing in sales of cutting edge weaponry. The company is located in Moscow and led by the psychotic Alexei Volkoff, the world's most notorious arms dealer.
- Big Bad: Alexei, and the company, are the primary villains of Season 4.
- The Dreaded: Even FULCUM and The Ring wouldn't dare cross anyone of any import in the company.
- Grim Up North: It's always snowing at the company's headquarters, much to the constant discomfort of Team Bartowski.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Their theme song is even performed by a traditional Russian choir.
Alexei Volkoff / Hartley Winterbottom / Agent X
- Portrayed by Timothy Dalton
Born Hartley Winterbottom, Alexei Volkoff is the batshit crazy CEO and founder of Volkoff Industries, an arms manufacturer. He is a recluse, described by Casey as the "Russian Howard Hughes." He is first mentioned in "Chuck Versus the Anniversary" by Marco. He makes his first onscreen appearance in "Chuck Versus the First Fight".
- Affably Evil: He's fun, funny, and goofy but also utterly insane and ruthless. He is hated and feared by nearly everyone.
- The Atoner: In a rather hilarious manner, as he's trying to make amends to everyone he's hurt or rubbed the wrong way using his prison therapy's 12-step-program, starting with his cutting in line of the prison cafeteria. Because he has "entitlement issues".
- He personally apologizes to a murdering African warlord for being "difficult." Then kisses him. The warlord can only stare in complete puzzlement.
- Played more seriously when the Hartley personality returns and he realizes he spent thirty years as a monster. He's especially disturbed and regretful of how he treated his daughter.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As in the above example, this is a man who has done some awful, awful things in his life. As he puts it, "everyone hates him." But when he starts making amends to those he wronged... he starts with an apology of cutting in a cafeteria line.
- Ax-Crazy: Alexei and reality are not on the same playing field. Not even the same game.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Part of his image: He HAS to have an expensive power suit to conduct business. Not having one gives him...self-esteem issues.
- Becoming the Mask: Turns out that Alexei Volkoff was originally just a cover identity. Also see Gone Horribly Wrong and Tomato in the Mirror below.
- Big Bad: Of Season 4.
- Breaking Speech: Despite his insanity, he is still very intelligent and good with these. He gives one to Chuck after The Reveal.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Goofy, funny and just plain weird, he is also the world's most dangerous and notorious arms dealer with a system that is borderline science fiction.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Go hand in hand with Cartoonish Supervillainy below. He's a deconstruction of both tropes however, as the Volkoff identity is literally written that way and once free of it, Hartley was absolutely devastated.
- Cartoonish Supervillainy: The Contessa has laser grid defenses, the entrance to the bunker with the last Norseman component can only be entered by beating the computer in chess and he hid the Hydra network in the glass eye of one of his mooks, among other things. Volkoff is undoubtedly the cartooniest villain in the show. But only because it was the personality grafted onto him by the Intersect prototype.
- Catch-Phrase: "So much...fun!"
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass / Obfuscating Stupidity: He's introduced as Gregory Tuttle, a meek and milquetoast handler for Frost. By the end of the episode he's revealed to be Alexei Volkoff, the whole "meek and milquetoast" bit being a front.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The scary, mentally unstable sort.
- Control Freak: Self-confessed. Whether it's money, or prison food, he needs things to go his way or he gets violent.
- Cool Ship: The Contessa, which he bought from Craigs List Dubai. He calls it his Floating Fotress... of Fun.
- Crazy-Prepared: Not only is his ship, The Contessa, loaded with state-of-the-art stealth weaponry, and a back-up supercomputer, but it's also got a genuine ice cream parlor.
- Not five minutes after the revelation, he's seen plotting while snacking on a double-scoop.
- Has a receptacle ready for whenever he uses a Q-tip to take a DNA sample from his mouth to get into secret lair.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Card-Carrying Villain and Laughably Evil. Volkoff is an image of an Evil Mastermind that the very nerdy Stephen Bartowski constructed. It's repeatedly pointed out how no sane or normal people would act the way he did. His extravagance and craziness baffled his friend and foe alike.
- Deconstructive Parody: He was also absurdly hilarious playing his role.
- Diabolical Mastermind: A genius and technical wizard on the same level as Stephen Bartowski. Which makes sense, since they were colleagues and friends.
- The Dreaded: Some of the most dangerous people of the world are downright terrified of him, and rightly so.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He and Vivian so far are the only "villains" in the series to have received a Happily Ever After, made even more awesome with how in the ending he gives all of his Volkoff assets to Chuck and Sarah...a total of 884 million dollars!
- Evil Brit / Renegade Russian: Plyed with; while he has a Russian name, acts like a typical Renegade Russian, is stationed in Russia and was supposedly born there, and models his business after Stalin-era Soviet Russia, he speaks with a very distinctive British accent and uses mostly British slang, as does his daughter. Probably forshadowing for the fact that he's not actually Russian.
- Evil Counterpart: To Stephen Bartowski in that he became evil testing an Intersect prototype on himself.
- Evil Genius: It's damn near impossible to track him down, and for good reason. He's ten steps ahead of everyone else.
- Evil Gloating: He loves it so much that Chuck's Batman Gambit against him was entirely based on getting him to gloat so he could harvest various words to reconstruct his voiceprint password.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Spends part of an episode getting to meet the Bartowskis through a game of charades.
- This in the latter half of an episode where he stormed the Buy More, disabled the CIA defenses, held Jeff and Lester hostage, and nearly followed through on a threat to kill Chuck for "capturing/threatening" Frost.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: He was a test subject (Agent X) for a prototype Intersect, intended to imprint a cover personality. Then the cover personality started to take over...
- Good All Along: Seeing as his actual personality is meek and pacifistic, not to mention Stephen Bartowski's best friend
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The first few episodes only; he gets his first real appearance in "Chuck Versus the First Fight".
- Heartbroken Badass: Volkoff may be a crazy, psychotic arms dealer and international terrorist. But he's also a loveable psychotic arms dealer and terrorist, which makes you feel all the more sorry for him when his daughter betrays him, and leaves him for dead.
- The Heavy: One could argue that Alexei Volkoff's existence is what caused the series to happen, as it was what would tear the Bartowski family apart. Stephen Bartowski's guilt over the whole ordeal caused him to leave his family and spend almost his entire career trying to fix what happened to his friend. It was only compounded when his wife went undercover into Volkoff Industries and the cover identity implanted in Hartley fell in love with her, forcing her to abandon her family for a long term undercover assignment.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Has two distinct personalities: Hartley, the meek scientist, and Alexei, the murderous psychopath.
- Laughably Evil: He isn't just the series' most cartoony and funny villain, but maybe the series' funniest character period.
- Large Ham: Delicious ham, too. Timothy Dalton relishes every second playing him.
- Morality Chain: He sincerely regrets being a Disappeared Dad, and now desperately wants any kind of connection he can get with his daughter.
- Omniscient Database: Has (had) access to: Alpha Intersect.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Is hilariously childish and immature, yet is also an absolute and heartless bastard. Mostly.
- Psycho Prototype: For the Intersect program.
- Walking Spoiler: Mary Bartowski's MI6 handler? He is actually Alexei Volkoff.
- He is actually a deep-cover CIA agent; his Volkoff identity was created from whole cloth by Orion's original Intersect.
- Shadow Archetype: He is what Chuck could have become if he let the Intersect take over his life.
- Sweet Tooth: If the fact that his ship has an ice cream parlor is anything to go by... Casey even describes him as someone with a penchant for world domination and ice cream.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Alexei Volkoff is actually a false identity created by an early Intersect program for a CIA agent. However, that identity ended up taking over completely.
- Villainous Crush: Has a massive one on Frost. She mostly just...plays along with it and occasionally rolls her eyes at his antics.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Has he reunited with his mother?
- Yandere: Over Frost. He loves her to death (preferably others'), but if necessary, will hold her own children hostage... For a Thanksgiving Dinner.
Vivian McArthur / Vivian Volkoff
Portrayed by Lauren Cohan
A young woman targeted for assassination by one of Volkoff's old lieutenants. She is believed to have the key to Volkoff's Hydra database, which is needed to take over his association. She is Volkoff's daughter and originally had no knowledge of what her father did, or that the reason he had been sending her to various schools was to groom her as his successor. While she originally seems willing to help, her father's lawyer is able to manipulate her into thinking Chuck, and by extension the CIA, were just using her, prompting her to turn against them and take over her father's company, becoming the Big Bad for the last chunk of season 4.
- Action Girl: Has a black belt but has yet to be shown doing any hand-to-hand combat. However, she's no Distressed Damsel either.Boris: You were skeetshooting at age 7, had your black belt by 13, and by the time you graduated from the London School of Economics, you were fluent in 5 languages.
- Alliterative Name: As Vivian Volkoff.
- Anti-Villain: Type II. She does it only because she feels she has no choice but to embrace her heritage.
- Break the Cutie: You can't blame her for being pissed, her father and the CIA both lied to her, she had no other place to go for answers.
- Catch-Phrase: "Nobody can/will be able to touch me, ever."
- Evil Costume Switch: After becoming a villain, she starts wearing more black clothes and leather, as well as Excessive Evil Eyeshadow.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Starts out a decent person, becomes a villain, then goes back to a normal life.
- Karma Houdini: At the end of season four she's given a blank identity so that she can start afresh and faces no consequences for the numerous attempts she made on the lives of Team Bartowski, actual successful murders of several other people, and whatever other crimes were committed either by her or on her behalf while running her father's company.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Grew up as one.
- Parental Abandonment: Though her father did pay for her schooling, Vivian says that he was never a part of her life.
- Talking the Monster to Death: How she was defeated.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: She turns into a villain both because it was her heritage, and because she felt she had no other option after being repeatedly used and lied to by the CIA.
Portrayed by Nicole Richie
Heather was a high school friend of Sarah Walker, who Heather knew under the alias Jenny Burton. She married Mark Ratner, a high school nerd who ended up as a wealthy engineer. She illegally sold several of his secrets on the black market and was eventually captured by Team Chuck. She later reveals that she was working for Volkoff Industries. She first appeared in "Chuck Versus the Cougars" and returned in "Chuck Versus the Cubic Z".
- Alpha Bitch: Heather was this in high school and remains one into adulthood.
- Breaking Speech: In her second appearance, Heather is able to figure out that Sarah and Chuck are together as well as prey on Sarah's insecurities about their relationship.
- Callback: Turns out that deal she made with with the Russian Mafia during Season 2 was for Volkoff from the start.
- Manipulative Bitch: Married her husband solely so she could steal tech from him.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: She's this to Sarah. Even after severely kicking her ass in her first appearance, Sarah is visibly intimidated when she sees her again, while she clearly takes great delight in getting a chance to continue her bullying, even lampshading this trope in her second episode, referring to her as her 'High School Punching bag.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A one too many failures and shady dealings left her as something of an eyesore for Volkoff, leading him to send Hugo Panzer to dispose of her.
Portrayed by Dolph Lundgren
A Giant Mook under the employ of Mr. Volkoff, Marco was in the process of smuggling a powerful EMP device until he was thwarted by Chuck and his crew.
He was shot and killed by Mary Elizabeth Bartowski.
- Actor Allusion: His role as Ivan Drago is referenced.Marco: I must break you.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: So he claims.Marco: Please, I have a family.Mary Bartowski/Frost: So do I.
- Giant Mook: Almost as big as Hugo Panzer and Yuri.
- Red Scare: Casey's attitude towards Marco.
- Torture Technician: A pretty lousy one, though...
Portrayed by Ray Wise
Alexei Volkoff's unscrupulous attorney who takes Vivian under his wing.
Tropes associated with Riley:
- Amoral Attorney: A lawyer and pure evil, there's no low he won't sink to to accomplish what he wants.
- Dirty Coward: He's not one for fire-fights. The moment things turn slightly bad, he runs.
- The Dragon: A lawyer on paper, it's clear he's a high-up executive in the company.
- Evil Mentor: To Vivian. It's plain obvious he's using her.
- Large Ham: For the life of him, he tries. ...At the insistence of Alexei, naturally. He even worked on that accent for two weeks!
- Manipulative Bastard: He knew Volkoff and Hartley were one and the same. He's also primarily responsible for Vivian turning evil, and does what he can to push her further to the dark side.
Portrayed by Matthew Willig
Real name - Yuri Gobrienko. Volkoff's most trusted bodyguard, henchman and cannibal. He had direct access to something Volkoff needed: His arms pipeline and network, "Hydra." After his escape from prison was arranged and pulled off by Team Bartowski, he was promptly disposed of by Volkoff for jeopardizing his entire network in the first place.
Tropes associated with The Gobbler:
- The Big Guy: The largest person in the entire cast. He's taller and more muscled than even Hugo Panzer.
- I Am A Humanitarian: He doesn't waste time trying to take bites out of Chuck when they fight. If not for the Intersect, Chuck would have likely been eaten by him.
- Eye Scream: The data for accessing Hydra is found in his fake eye, which Volkoff messily pops out after killing him.
- You Have Failed Me L He's killed by Vokoff for jeopardizing his entire network.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Volkoff was none too happy that he was caught and endagered the Hydra network if they CIA discovered what was in his eye.
- You Look Familiar: Willig previously appeared in "Chuck Versus the Tango" as La Ciudad's bodyguard, however Word of God confirms that Yuri is not the same character.
- We Hardly Knew You: After a brief fight with Chuck, Alexei has him disposed of.